Upper Congress Street Reopens Following Gas Leak That Closed Area Briefly

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Looking Down a Blocked-Off Congress Street from North Street on Munjoy Hill.

Looking Down a Blocked-Off Congress Street from North Street on Munjoy Hill.

141 Congress Street Where the Gas Leak Occurred Outside the Building.

141 Congress Street Where the Gas Leak Occurred Outside the Building.

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 2,324)

Congress Street near North Street is now (2:00 pm) back open to all foot and vehicular traffic.  It was closed for several hours today because of a gas leak at 141 Congress Street near North Street on Munjoy Hill, Both vehicular and pedestrian traffic had been temporarily rerouted because of high gas readings at 141 Congress Street (next to Hilltop Superette).  One fire fighter said that if a building fills up with gas, “it becomes a bomb.”

According to a Portland Fire Department press release,  it received a 911 call around 12:30 pm from someone who smelled a strong odor of gas.  It turned out that a large quantity of heavy snow had accumulated on an exterior gas meter, causing the gas supply line to break-up.

Unitil is on the scene and has stopped the leak and is making repairs.  No injuries were reported. The Fire Department asks that residents do the best they can to keep gas meters and other equipment clear of ice and snow to prevent what can be a dangerous situation from happening.

Hilltop Superette had been evacuated as well as  buildings down Congress Street.  One apartment building behind the Superette on North Street likewise was evacuated as a precaution.